Patrick Bamford has spoken of his relief at discovering he would return from injury around Christmas after fearing a snapped knee ligament might rule him out of the rest of Leeds United’s season.
Bamford admitted he had been “buzzing” over a diagnosis which set his comeback for January having been warned by Rob Price, Leeds’ head of medicine and performance, that the injury could sideline him out for up to nine months.
The striker severed a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) during an Under-23s fixture at Elland Road in September, a month after joining Leeds in a £7million move from Middlesbrough. The signing, made days before the start of the season, was United’s most expensive for 17 years.
His injury came after only five appearances as a substitute in the Championship and Bamford has spent the past two months in rehabilitation as Leeds battled for position near the top of the division.
The 25-year-old is back in light training, however, and on course for a comeback around the turn of the year.
Asked how frustrating the injury had been, he told LUTV: “Everyone who’s asked me that expects me to say it’s been really tough and frustrating.
“Obviously it’s been frustrating that I can’t play but when it happened Rob told me as he tested it ‘you’ve snapped it. Worst case is nine months.’ In my head I was thinking ‘this is a nightmare’.
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“But when I saw the specialist and he said it’ll be four months I thought ‘thank God for that’ I was buzzing. As weird as it sounds to be buzzing about being out for four months, it was a weight off my shoulders.”
Bamford started the season on the bench behind Kemar Roofe but his absence left head coach Marcelo Bielsa short of experienced centre-forwards after Roofe suffered a calf strain in early September.
The former Chelsea trainee hurt his knee by landing awkwardly from an aerial challenge in a development squad game between Leeds and Bristol City. He spent the weekend of his 25th birthday awaiting a verdict on the severity of the damage.
“It’s getting there slowly,” he said. “It was an innocuous fall to the floor. I went up for header and dropped and because of the force I hit the floor with it basically snapped the ligament.
“It’s rare in football. It’s normally an injury you get when you have a car crash. It was a freak and hard to get my head around to start with.
“The whole weekend I thought it was going to need an operation and it was going to be six to nine months. I was pretty down. But the specialist said ‘you don’t need an op, just keep a brace on for four weeks.’”